Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.
Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.
We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire. Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.
Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.
We live in a fallen world filled with sin and all manner of evil, yet so often we put on rose-colored glasses and expect our life to be full of comfort, ease, and pleasure. And then when storms come upon us, bringing disruption, trouble, conflict, and heartache, we start wondering where the Lord is. After all, we are believers in Jesus Christ, and God is our loving heavenly Father. So why is He letting this happen?
The disciples would have preferred smooth sailing, too—across the Sea of Galilee. But in the storm, they saw Jesus in a new way. After He calmed the waves with His words, they asked in amazement, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matt. 8:27). Through that storm, they recognized Jesus as almighty God, who has power even over the physical laws of the universe. His purpose was not to drown them but to show them His glory.
The same is true of us. Storms in our life are opportunities to see the Lord in a new light and in a magnified way. It’s in our extreme need that we begin to see we have too small a view of God. We must be careful not to reduce Him to a doting Father who winks at our sin and just wants us happy, healthy, and wealthy.
Perhaps you are going through a personal storm of some kind right now. If so, ask the Lord to open your eyes to a greater understanding of Him. Even if your circumstances don’t change, Jesus Christ is the Lord of peace, and He can comfort you.
This much is sure: God will teach you to pray. Don’t think for a minute that he’s glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite!
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with Me.”
Jesus waits on the porch. He taps…and calls. He waits for you to open the door. To pray is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart. The happy welcome to Jesus says, Come in, O King. Come in. The kitchen is messy, but come in. I’m not much of a conversationalist, but come in.
Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer! God changes His people through such moments.
In case you’ve been living in a cave or on another planet for the past 12 months, you might not be aware of the significant issues surrounding climate change and it’s impact on our earth. Typhoons, earthquakes, fires, floods, drought, hurricanes and global warming are just the tip of the iceberg.
Countless headlines are sounding the clarion call to all who will listen that it’s time to take action now before we witness a catastrophic apocalypse right in front of our eyes. All forms of life given to us by God are dying off and going extinct because their habitats are changing or being eradicated by fires, man or climate change.
Will it really take our planet’s eco-system collapsing in front of our very eyes before we’ll do something about it? Depending on our politicians, including the President is like trying to stuff six pounds of crap into a four pound bag. It doesn’t work!
I’ve been following various news and media articles about this very important topic and it saddens me to think we are losing the battle. Will everyone please wake up, call your Congressman or Congresswoman and plead your case. If enough citizens will do this we might have a chance.
If you take the apathetic approach that someone else will make the call or contact, then we are doomed. Take a stand now to save our planet before it’s too late.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—Proverbs 13:20
Compromise may be helpful for some relationships, but it can hurt our spiritual journey. Bending God’s principles is risky.
For example, suppose a Christian man makes some new acquaintances, who don’t share his beliefs. Having grown up in the church, he has practically memorized Proverbs 13:20—“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—and recognizes the verse is meant to protect Christians from worldly influences. But he rationalizes that spending time here or there with these friends won’t hurt him. Eventually, however, he ends up spending more time with them than with believers and begins to question his own beliefs. Heeding that proverb might have helped him avoid drifting away from the heavenly Father.
To navigate such situations, we must look ahead for possible danger. Even choices that seem trivial can have far-reaching consequences. But the Lord equips us with a conscience and the Holy Spirit, who sounds an alarm if we veer into dangerous territory.
For us to hear these warnings, our heart must be tuned into God’s Spirit and Word. Relying on our own understanding can lead to trouble. But those who trust the Lord and apply His principles will find straight paths through potentially dangerous situations.